“Opensource” Presentations – Having Your Cake and Eating It

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009 by Simon Morton

We recently won a new client from a competitor because they’d produced a presentation that simply didn’t work for them.  After lots of work (and money), it transpired that the most simple changes to their presentation were a pain and, surprise surprise, often required a purchase order.  The client was understandably cheesed off.

FlashIt reminded me of a similar faux-pas I made a few years ago whilst in the employ of a US technology business.  I’d commissioned an “all-singing, all-dancing” product launch presentation, casting the net wide to find design agencies that could help me out in this endeavor (interestingly, no one specialised in presentations but we’ll save that insight for another day…).  In the end, I plumped for a London based agency that showed me samples that made my jaw drop – they were gorgeous, highly animated works of art.  It was love at first sight.

Over the following weeks, and then months, the presentation came together slowly…very slowly.  Changes to content seemed to take an age and amends to layout were drawn out and painful.  The project dragged on whilst the once very generous deadline loomed and my masters in the US regularly enquired as to progress.  No pressure, then.

I’m glad to say that come the day of the launch, everything came together and looked the bee’s knees.  The pain and torture had been worth it – the final presentation was beautiful.  The sales team loved it, the bosses loved it, I loved it.

And then the cracks started to appear…

You see, the presentation had been created using Director, the Grandaddy of Flash.  What Voodoo Dollthat meant was that every single change was a drama, requiring long lead-times and purchase orders.

So when the Sales Director needed a few tweaks for a large pitch he was working on, I needed more budget.  When the US team needed to take some of the messaging out and personalise to their market, I needed more budget and time.  And when e-mailing copies around the company proved, um, challenging, I’m sure I spotted a voodoo doll with my name on it in the IT room.

In short, I became a social pariah all because of this overly complex presentation created in a language that no-one internally had a clue about.

Fast forward a couple of years to the launch of Eyeful.  From the word go, I was determined to give our clients the same jaw-dropping excitement from highly visual, interactive presentations but without the headaches and voodoo dolls.  Our solution was to take Microsoft’s ubiquitous PowerPoint, software that most business people are comfortable with, and just make it work harder than before.  By doing this, we get the same wow factor that the Flash/Director presentations get but give our clients the ability to make changes themselves.  The nicest thing people can say to us is there’s no way that’s PowerPoint…

It would seem that this “opensource” approach to presentation design is a refreshing change to the traditional agency model.  You see, our clients only come back to us when they want to, not because they have to.  As a result, Eyeful now has the highest repeat business and loyalty rate in the industry – ironic, eh?

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One Response to ““Opensource” Presentations – Having Your Cake and Eating It”

  1. Trevor Gennings says:

    nice articles you have here, thank you for putting your time into it!

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